Everyone’s wellbeing journey is different. But that doesn’t mean it’s an individual issue. At P&G, we’re creating a culture that prioritizes employee wellbeing by building communities of resources and support.
By providing the learning opportunities and resources for employees to be their best selves, we’re delivering on our promise to provide a superior experience for employees and, ultimately, our consumers.
Leading with Care and Empathy
Ten years ago, Mark Bailey, North America Baby Care HR Expert, was fighting an invisible battle. When his father passed away, Mark hit a tipping point and began having panic attacks. “I could not hide my anxiety and depression at work anymore. I would leave the room in the middle of meetings and sob in the bathroom,” he said.
After one episode, his manager, Susan, approached him. Bailey thought he was getting fired. Instead, she was the first person to show genuine caring, compassion and empathy. “She walked me to the cafeteria where we could have tea and communicate like we were two human beings. That was so powerful for me,” he said.
That simple act provided a psychological safe space that inspired Bailey to be vulnerable and open. And it changed his course. His manager helped him find the appropriate resources and continued to check on his personal wellbeing.
P&G employees have a wide range of health benefits — access to counseling via Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), flexible work arrangements and extended leave options. But for Bailey, his manager’s empathetic approach may have been the most important resource.
“It inspired me to be the best, not just the best performer I'd been in my career, but to be the best employee in my organization,” he said.
As Bailey found his way, he felt compelled to help others. He started the Global Employee Mental Health Support Group, which meets monthly, and he speaks to managers about how to create a safe space for employees.
By sharing his experience, Bailey is making strides against the stigma of mental illness. “It’s amazing to feel welcome to talk about mental health, especially in a room with leaders,” he said.
Taking a Mindful Approach
For Ralf Haacke, director Mindfulness-Based Emotional Intelligence within Global Business Services, a 2015 German airplane crash that killed 16 teenagers from his hometown was the beginning of a mental health crisis. “It started a downward spiral that led to the worst part of my life,” he said.
Haacke came across mindfulness, which completely changed his life. The power of that experience inspired him to build a mindfulness-based program at P&G. “I felt tremendously supported,” he said.
The program, Improve YOUR Life, is backed by neuroscience and uses mindful practices to train the brain to overcome challenges by strengthening emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management and empathy. The skills translate to improved personal wellbeing, self-leadership and lead to higher-performing teams by enabling psychological safety.
After training, participants practice skills, including joining local communities of practice. “These local communities of practice are really the backbone of the program because the folks that are gathering there are the core of driving cultural change within P&G, because they are actually living what we are teaching in the training,” Haacke said.
To date, more than 3,000 P&G employees in 30+ locations globally have gone through the program.
“Working this on your own is important, but supporting each other along the way, really can make a dimensional step change towards what you can achieve,” Haacke said.
Building Resilience through Community
During the pandemic, the P&G Grooming organization recognized the need to champion wellbeing.
“People were burning out and not equipped to deal with it,” said Genevieve Biedron Wallden, global HR director for Grooming.
Under the leadership of Maria Alejandra de Cordova and a dedicated HR team, Grooming created a holistic approach to wellbeing, including sessions in Boston and Global Grooming on trauma-informed care and resilience, monthly “vitamin” videos and activities and a community of peer resources.
For one-on-one support, Grooming launched the Mental Health FIRST AID® program through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing®. The program trains everyday people to identify, understand and respond to mental health issues.
"They are another resource for employees to talk to when dealing with stress, mental health issues or burnout. They're in plants, corporate offices and innovation centers, and it's just individuals with passion in this area,” said Wallden. To date, Grooming has trained more 160 people globally, with 20-30 Mental Health First Aiders in Boston.
“It is just this ability for people to be much more vulnerable and share what they need to be successful in and out of the workplace, to be able to bring your whole self to work and not feeling like they need to mask what's happening,” said Wallden.
A Road Less Traveled
In August 1998, Raymond Lynch was involved in a motorcycle accident (‘head on collision’ with a car which had ‘jumped’ a red traffic signal) that left him brain dead and his left leg shattered. After several months in a coma, his condition improved. Through hard work and determination, several months later, he got out of his wheelchair.
Lynch returned to work at P&G to the same empathetic management structure he had before the accident. With their support and understanding, he was successful in being part of the team. He began to use his experiences and the challenges he faced to educate others within P&G about disability inclusion to change the narrative and affect positive change. In 2019, he helped develop and deploy Return To Work (RTW) Accommodations for P&G employees with brain injuries.
In 2020, Lynch was appointed P&G’s Global Ambassador employee with disabilities/medical conditions, and in Jan 2021, he established support groups for employees with hidden disabilities/medical conditions. Today, just over two years later, there are now over 800 employees who regularly join these group sessions.
“I’m very happy to be part of a company that values my experience and is now implementing training and tools to effectively manage and support employees with a brain injury,” said Lynch.
As a company, P&G has learned from Lynch and other colleagues how they can better meet the needs of P&G’s employees with disabilities and foster a disability-confident culture that takes action, drives growth and creates value for people with disabilities. We recognize this is a journey, and each day progress is being made in creating an environment where the opportunity to contribute, grow and succeed is available to all.
When employees feel accepted and valued, P&G is at its best.
Learn more about our Who We Are, including our commitment to delivering a superior employee experience, or browse our job openings and apply to join our team.
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